Spring budget 2024: a missed opportunity to invest in Parkinson’s before the general election

This week’s spring budget failed to offer much-needed support for people with Parkinson’s.

The spring budget announced by the chancellor this week comes in the context of an ongoing cost of living crisis and could be the last budget before a general election.

Our research shows that people with Parkinson’s are struggling financially and have yet to see the targeted support they need.

Still nowhere near enough cost of living support

The extension of the Household Support Fund by a further 6 months was a positive announcement but 80% of respondents to our recent survey had not even heard of the scheme.

It’s vital that the UK government promotes the Fund to ensure it reaches people. However, this budget is notable by its lack of targeted financial support for people with Parkinson’s who continue to struggle to make ends meet.

Sue Christoforou, Policy Manager for Financial Health at Parkinson’s UK, said:

"The spring budget has sadly failed to offer much-needed support for people with Parkinson's.

"Our latest report, ‘Still Nowhere Near Enough’, found that for many people with Parkinson’s, the cost of living crisis is far from over.

"While the whole UK population continues to experience spiralling costs and dwindling support, people with Parkinson’s are hit harder than most due to inadequate cost of living support and a broken benefits system, and this should have been addressed in the budget.

"With gas prices forecast to remain high until at least 2028-29, it's about time the government takes action to stop forcing people into avoidable poverty. The reality is that unless people with Parkinson’s receive the support they need to live well, they could find their symptoms worsen."

Health announcements: NHS IT funding, but no news on the workforce

The government pledged £2bn to "update fragmented and outdated IT systems across the NHS" which, if it achieves this aim, could save significant amounts of time for clinicians and other staff and make outdated systems more efficient.

While we were pleased to see this and we hope it streamlines processes, we were disappointed by the absence of much-needed detail on how the NHS workforce plan will be funded.

Its promising ambition to ensure the NHS workforce is fit for the future cannot be realised without clarity on how Integrated Care Boards will be given the funding they need.

We’re also calling for the government to fund training for health and social care staff in Parkinson’s-related dementia, as part of our Nobody Really Knows Us campaign and we would urge the UK government to act on this urgently.

Early-career researchers supported

We welcome the chancellor’s acknowledgement of the vital role of medical charities with a £45m investment in this budget, and hope to see more detail on this soon.